Mama in the Rough's SAHM Survival Guide | The Unspoken Truth
While the six month mark of being a stay-at-home mama has officially come and gone, it’s about time I’ve gotten around to sharing the details of the transition; the mom-wins, the self-realization and the ugly truths. It’s been an adventure to say the least, but I finally found my groove. If you’re new to my blog and missed my latest post, you may not know that our little girl has a recent diagnosis of Apraxia; a neurological disorder causing delayed speech and motor development. I felt in my bones that I needed to make a change to give her the best chance -to quit my ‘9 to never 5’ job and do the unthinkable, STAY AT HOME. I was terrified. It didn’t work previously in my life for a reason (I’ll get there), but what choice did I actually have this time? Our children come first and my daughter needed me to be there, to be her advocate and her voice.
So many mothers are torn with this decision; to stay home and raise babies and do side hustles (or not) or to maintain the career that they worked so hard to build. Neither is wrong. Neither is easy. It truly needs to be what is best for your family. Sometimes the choice is a no-brainer given child care expenses compared to income or in our case, a grueling therapy schedule. Before you take the plunge, it’s best to make sure your spouse or partner is supportive, that you can pay your bills and most importantly that you- as a mama- can handle the change.
I mentioned above that it didn’t work for me previously in my life. I will give you a little background- in 2016 we had just brought home our second baby, my toddler fell apart and we recently moved across the country + it was winter. I felt like a lunatic in the midst of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, but was also in major denial. I wanted to run away from the best things in my life (read: my husband and children) at the darkest moment in my life. Three years, another kid and one with a special needs diagnosis later- I convinced myself I could handle it. I was not in the ‘postpartum phase’ any more, after all. But instead, I ended up back in my doctor’s office crying about all of the crying I was doing in front of the mountains of laundry and the overwhelming feelings of needing space— ALL OF THE THINGS. So maybe it wasn’t PPD all along…just ‘SAHMD.’ That’s a thing, right? If I am being 100% transparent, I will tell you that I felt unworthy of being a mother at times, but voicing all of these struggles to her during that appointment caused me to change my perspective and I find myself breathing easier most days.
If you stay at home with your kids/ work from home, you know how isolating it can feel sometimes. If you work outside the home, you know how gut wrenching it can be to miss big moments. I have done both. I hear you. Mommin’ is hard and gives us some pretty intense feels. Bliss and bitterness alike. I’m here to tell you that the grass is greener wherever you water it.
However, if you have recently considered making the switch, here are some things that can help you through this major life change.
Find something for you! I use my blog as a way to channel some big things. Some moms work out or go to Target alone (which I also do), I write. This can be anything really- just give yourself at least 30 minutes each day. It will give you a sense of empowering accomplishment. Some days I feel like a goddess, especially when I get to wash my hair.
Change your clothes and brush your teeth! This may seem like a given, but some days I am so in the zone that I barely take care of myself and dare I say, forget to even make a cup of coffee until my 6 year old calls me out. You’ll feel like a new woman.
Develop a routine! This took some serious trial and error, homegirl. I’m talking- changed it three times in 4 months. There are some parts of our routine that I found to be non-negotiable; meal times and nap time. I don’t know about you, but my kids get tired and hangry and they feel it hard! The days seem to go easier if my kids know what is coming next and that I, the doer of all things, also knows what is coming next.
Channel some creativity! Rearrange your house, find a Pinterest DIY project or do a craft with your kids! It’s so refreshing, I promise! I have an Etsy shop that I am able to commit more time to now and it really gives me the boost I need to do the dang thing!
Join a local mom group on social media! Sometimes you can’t handle it all and need some advice or new ideas. Or if you’re like us and semi-new to your area, you have no idea what is available to do. There are so many hidden gems, but the library is always a great (and free) option!
Research remote working opportunities! I am not embarrassed to say that finances were a concern of mine. My goal was to at least bring home what I was making after paying a nanny and I have pretty much surpassed that. I guess technically you could call me a ‘slay at home mom.’ There is so much out there to explore so you can be home with your kids and feel like you are contributing bread to the table.
Buy a planner! Seriously. I am a pen and paper gal. I need to write things down to cross them off. I use it for meals, therapy appointments, work days, goals, accountability and a reminder for my oldest to do his homework- everything is in it. I make a to-do bullet each week to write down the following week’s plans too, which gives me time to research activities that fit into free moments.
Include your kids! Once or twice a week, my kids help prepare lunch. Stay tuned for a blog post with some of our favorites. Our oldest also likes to plan his ‘extra’ nap time activity each day. His napping days are long gone. Chances are, they will engage with something longer and more intentionally if they are part of the decision making process. Sound familiar?
Talk to your mom friends! Sometimes motherhood consumes us. There are moments that aren’t so awesome where you feel defeated and all you can think about is how Linda next door must never lose it. You’re wrong. She probably does and thinks the same of you. Call Linda, vent to her. She will tell you that you aren’t alone and that you are everything your children need. (This tip really goes for any mom; stay-at-home, working, peaceful, anxious…lift each other up. We are in this thing together.)
Going through big transitions can be stressful with or without kids. It’s important to make it as seamless as possible for yourself and your babes- hopefully it won’t take you as long to find a rhythm of your own. Despite all of that, we have experienced some major growth during this season and although, the process wasn’t easy (and still isn’t most days), I am grateful to have found my new normal and to be able to choose happiness everyday and truly get the best of both worlds.